This Saturday the UFC will return to Sao Paulo, Brazil for the sixth time as it plays host to UFC Fight Night 119, in what is a stacked card with twelve fights in total. It also marks the return of one of Brazil’s top MMA icon’s as Lyoto Machida will step back into the Octagon fresh off an 18-month suspension from USADA.
Machida makes his return
The event will be headlined by a middleweight bout between the returning Machida and Derek Brunson which takes place in the Ibirapuera Gymnasium, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Machida will be looking for his first win in over two years after falling to both Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero in 2015 prior to his suspension. The former light-heavyweight champion will be looking to make sure that his current two-fight losing streak doesn’t extend to three, something that the Brazilian has never endured during his 14-year career. During his prime Machida collected a number of highlight reel finishes over the likes of Randy Couture, Ryan Bader, C.B. Dolloway and Mark Munoz as well as his highlight reel finish over Rashad Evans to capture light-heavyweight gold. Now in ‘The return of the dragon’ the 39-year old will hope to prove he is still a top five fighter by defeating a man who has ascended in his absence.
— Phre (@phre) August 31, 2017
Since Machida last stepped foot in the Octagon, Derek Brunson has made movements in the middleweight division obtaining a record of 4-2 with his only two losses coming at the hands of MMA legend Anderson Silva and current UFC Interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. In the Silva fight, the decision could have went either way and Brunson definitely did enough to make it a hard decision for the judges however in the Whittaker bout last November we saw the fundamental flaw in Brunson’s game.
After four minutes of relentless back-and-forth fisticuffs, the 33-year old’s aggression turned into recklessness as he found himself finished late in the first round by the Kiwi. In his most recent bout, Brunson made quick work whilst snapping his two-fight losing streak after he steamrolled through Dan Kelly in just over a minute at UFC Fight Night 110, a win which saw him walk away with ‘Performance of The Night’ honours. Now he will fight another Brazilian all-time great and will hope to secure a win over a future hall of famer in the process.
Maia returns to where the streak began
In the co-main event, Sao Paulo’s own Demian Maia looks to bounce back from his unsuccessful title challenge at UFC 214. This Saturday will mark Maia’s first bout back in Sao Paulo since 2014 where he defeated Alexander Yakovlev before going on to compile a seven fight-win streak which ultimately ended against the champion Tyron Woodley. In what was his second opportunity at clinching UFC gold, Maia was unable to implement any of his game plan as the Brazilian went 0 for 24 takedowns before losing unanimously on the judges’ scorecards.
Now the 39-year old will look to get back in the win column in the hope of making his way back up to avenge his most recent defeat; standing in the way of him is up and coming challenger, #7 ranked Colby Convington. Maia will hope to have more success with his grappling in this bout as he looks to secure his 11th victory since moving to welterweight in 2012.
Convington enters the bout riding a four-fight win streak defeating the likes of Max Griffin and Bryan Barberena in the process. The American Top Team affiliate holds an impressive professional record of 12-1 (7-1 UFC) and will aim to earn the biggest victory of his career so far on Saturday night. The 29-year old will be very familiar of his opponent after Maia defeated Covington’s best friend and primary training partner, Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211 in May of this year. Despite Maia being labelled as perhaps the greatest grappler the UFC has ever seen, Covington has stated that his wrestling is on a ‘different level’ to any opponents the Brazilian has faced so far.
Covington is certainly no slouch on the ground, and as a former collegiate all-American wrestler, he has shown he is capable of taking his opponents down and smothering them with great control as shown in his most recent bout against Dong Hyun Kim. The American’s skills on the mat will truly be put to the test as he enters enemy territory against an MMA great.
One’s to watch
Elsewhere on the card former RFA Bantamweight Champ Pedro Munhoz takes on former CES MMA Featherweight Champ Rob Font as both men attempt to break into the top ten rankings.
Francisco Trinaldo will look to get back to winning ways after his 7-fight win streak was ended by Kevin Lee earlier this year. This will be no easy task however as he takes on UFC veteran Jim Miller in what will be his 28th UFC bout.
One to watch on the UFC Fight Pass segment of the card is a welterweight match-up between Vicente Luque vs Niko Price. Price is currently an undefeated prospect fighting out of ATT, holding a perfect record of 11-0 with all but one of his bouts coming by way of stoppage. The 24-year old will hope to extend his streak to 4-0 under the UFC banner having already secured victories over the likes of Brandon Thatch, Alex Morono and Alan Jouban.
MAIN CARD (FS1, 10 p.m. ET)
- Lyoto Machida (185) vs. Derek Brunson (185)
- Colby Covington (171) vs. Demian Maia (171)
- Rob Font (136) vs. Pedro Munhoz (136)
- Jim Miller (155) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (155)
- Jack Hermansson (185) vs. Thiago “Marreta” Santos (186)
- John Lineker (136) vs. Marlon Vera (135)
PRELIMINARY CARD (FS2, 8 p.m. ET)
- Vicente Luque (171) vs. Niko Price (171)
- Antonio Carlos Junior (185) vs. Jack Marshman (186)
- Hacran Dias (155) vs. Jared Gordon (156)
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (171) vs. Max Griffin (171)
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7 p.m. ET)
- Jarred Brooks (125) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (126)
- Christian Colombo (258) vs. Marcelo Golm (242)